Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
By: Andre Amaro, Masters Level Intern
In the United States, millions of people are diagnosed with a mental health disorder each year and about 1 out 4 adults live with a diagnosable mental health condition according to various mental health statistics. When it comes to struggles surrounding mental health, a person’s race, color, ethnicity, and background does not matter as mental health problems can affect anyone in the world. These issues do not discriminate and anyone is suspectable to develop some form of mental illness, especially if they do not take care of themselves. While many people in the United States suffer from some form of mental illness; many of communities that struggle severely with mental health issues are communities of color. So why does this seem to be the case? There are many factors on why minorities tend to suffer more from mental illnesses compared to the predominant white/non-Hispanic racial group in the U.S.
One reason for the development of mental health struggles in communities of color is due to prejudice and discrimination. Minorites are more likely to suffer from prejudice and discrimination, which means they are often stigmatized, harassed, and rejected within our society, which are things that can increase people’s stress, anxiety, and depression. This then leads to another reason for the development of mental health issues within communities of color, which is due to the differences in opportunities minorities have compared to white/non-Hispanic people. Sometimes minorities do not have access to things like a good education, healthcare, a stable living environment, and well-paying job due to factors such as immigration or lack of financial freedom and stability. However, despite these economic and societal reasons for the development of mental illnesses in minorities; one of the primary reasons is due lack of awareness of mental health issues and cultural factors. It is not uncommon for some minorities such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians to not talk about their mental health issues with family members or others, as it is sometimes seen as taboo because many people within these communities believe mental health issues should be kept to yourself, and that you should be able to handle your problems on your own. However, these cultural beliefs that have been passed down from generations to generations, can sometimes have a negative impact in these communities as prevents minorities from seeking help regarding their mental health issues. This then increases the likelihood that some minorities may be developing or may already have a mental health disorder, but are being left untreated for their issues and starting to develop issues such as depression, anxiety, substance use, and more.
In order to prevent the development of mental health disorders within communities of color, it is important to spread awareness and offer help to minorities who are currently struggling in our country. The month of July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This means it is a great time to help spread awareness and talk about mental health issues for minorities, as having conversations about mental health with minorities can help someone who is struggling with a mental health disorder feel better about themselves. Not only this, having discussions about mental health with minorities can encourage them to receive education and help regarding their mental health. Helping minorities gain information and access to treatment, and eliminating any stigma are excellent ways that we can help spread awareness and provide support for our communities of color. If you or someone you know is a part of a community of color and struggling with mental health issues; please do not ever be afraid to reach out for help, as reaching out to others can help you manage your mental health issues more effectively. I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my blog and have a happy month of July and lets please spread awareness of mental health issues for minorities.